Blog Post By: Craig McKinley, Golf Course Superintendent
We are thinking spring here at Bucks Run, and we have been busy all winter making this property better for our guests. Our biggest project this past winter was rebuilding the wooden bridge across the wetland in front of the #3 men’s tees. We have also continued our Selective Tree Removal Program to not only improve playing conditions, but the overall health of the surrounding turf.
A Background & Project Details
The bridge on our 3rd hole, which crosses the wetland, has lasted twenty years and it was time to replace it. While we had been planning since mid-summer 2020 to replace the bridge, COVID and the lock-downs had an effect we had not planned on. Lumber prices quoted from the previous spring had increased almost 80%. With the bridge being 300 feet long, that adds up quick.
With that in mind, it was decided to harvest the bulk of the lumber from the golf course and utilize a local sawmill. At Bucks Run, we take pride in being good stewards of the environment, and in this scenario, using our Selective Tree Removal Program to make usable lumber was a perfect fit. All of the lumber on the bridge is two-inch, rough-cut oak. During construction, we also added two center support stringers running the length of the bridge for added stability and longevity.
The first stage of this was to strip side rails and decking off, and remove the hardware that was useable for the rebuild. We were able to reuse a large portion of the bolts, washers, and nuts when we started to rebuild. Posts that needed to be replaced were completed at this time, and composite pucks were set under them for added stability in the wet soil.
Step #2 - Harvest & Mill
Next step was harvesting logs from the golf course to have milled locally.
Step #3 - Framework
We then started running the framework for the bridge and adding the cross supports and center stringers.
Step #4 - Deck Boards
After the framework was done, it was time to put down the deck boards. Fun fact: it took 1,784 four-and-a-half inch decking screws to secure the decking to the structure.
Step #5 - Side Rails
Side rails were the last thing installed and made from Bucks Run maple trees, cut into 2x4 and running along 4x6 blocks.
All in all, the bridge used 80 feet of 4x6 posts, 600 feet of 2x4 posts, 88 stringers made of 12-foot-long 2x12, and 300 8 foot 2x12 for the top. Of that, 100% of the 4x6 posts and 2x4 rails came from the golf course, along with 44 of the 88 stringers, and 220 of the 8-foot 2x12s used for the decking.
I am thankful for having a team that can make these kinds of things happen. Our Mechanic; Bill Phelps, Assistant Superintendent; Jon Cutler, Dave Sweet, and Assistant Golf Professional; James Howard all put in some real muscle work on this project!
We look forward to seeing all of you over the coming months for another fantastic year of golf at Bucks Run!